There are a lot of the news about Wikileaks, and a lot of Wikileaks! This is to the extent that US diplomacy leaked cables were bigger than any one entity to deal with. Wikileaks is releasing the classified documents in bits, to allow the material to be analyzed, published and absorbed by the media and the public. So the timing of publications will be ‘planned’. You can say that they can be political too, theoretically.
If we keep going on this publishing pace, it could take 5 to 10 years to ‘take in’ all the material. Since the leaks started in late November 2010, only 5.3% of the total cables have been released to date (13,368 cables released only out of the 251,287), and the total text files size is 1.6GB. Bradley Manning, 22, has been held in solitary confinement for the last eight months on the basis he leaked the documents. He will be facing a military court.
Originally five main publishing giants agreed in a deal (not necessarily financial) with Wikileaks to be publishing the leaked material: Le Monde in France, El Pais in Spain, Der Spiegel in Germany, The Guardian in Britain which teamed up with the The New York Times (it could be for some legal publishing reasons). Some other media outlets have been reporting them too like Al-Akhbar & Al-Joumhouriya in Lebanon, and The Hindu in India.
The Guardian has done the hard work in counting and summarizing the US dispatches, but I choose to ‘filter’ out this summary myself, hopefully to produce something interesting about the Wikileaks cables. You can say I extracted some information from the raw data produced by The Guardian.
I think these figures show the intensity of reporting of US embassies around the world, more activity in a certain place means this country’s embassy is a ‘hub’! I tried to come up with view on the ‘hot spots or subjects’.
With all the noise in Beirut about Wikileaks gossip, Beirut Embassy with 2,368 dispatches ranked 28 in the overall source league table (may be not bad relative to the country size?). What I found intriguing was to see Beirut Embassy being World Top 28 source, but ‘Lebanon’ was a World Top 4, if I count only the countries mentioned in the ‘subject line’. This means there is a lot of talk about this tiny country Lebanon, by non-Lebanese on non-Lebanese soil (I presume all over Middle East!).
You can notice that ‘Lebanon’ was mentioned in the subject line more than ‘China’, amazing! They will be the other way around though if I include the adjective or nationality (Lebanese or Chinese for example). Even if the nationality is counted with the country, both countries will stay in the Top 4 in the subject ‘country keyword’.
Anyway, a summary of my findings is found below:
- Total number of leaked dispatches: 251,287
- Number of classified ‘Confidential’ documents: 97,070
- Number of classified ‘Secret’ documents: 11,322
- The oldest cable goes back to 1966
- The bulk of cables is from 2005 onwards: 226,479 dispatches
- Top 4 busiest months were in 2009 ( more than 5,000 cables were issued separately in these months)
- Average for the last 3 full years: 50,317 dispatches per year
- Top non-embassy source: American Institute Taiwan, Taipei with 3,456 dispatches
From the Top 30 locations originating all the cables, nine were from the Middle East as follows:
- Ankara Embassy with 7,918 dispatches (World Top 1)
- Baghdad Embassy with 6,677 dispatches
- Amman Embassy with 4,312 dispatches
- Kuwait Embassy with 3,717 dispatches
- Tel Aviv Embassy with 3,194 dispatches
- Khartoum Embassy with 3,078 dispatches
- Cairo Embassy with 2,752 dispatches
- Abu Dhabi Embassy with 2,547 dispatches
- Beirut Embassy with 2,368 dispatches (with all the gossip!)
Now If I consider only the ‘country’ (i.e. not subjects, terms, words or pronouns) mentioned in the subject line, I get the following ranking – Top World ‘Country Subject’:
- Iraq with 5,475 dispatches
- Iran with 5,434 dispatches
- Turkey with 4,186 dispatches
- Lebanon with 3,195 dispatches
- China with 3,117 dispatches